Way back in 1982, before Warp-Drive, there was this secret new computer being developed
at Apple Computer known as the 'Lisa'.
The Lisa computer had a real bitmapped screen that was fairly large (i.e. lots of pixels!)
and a real pointing device that resembled what Xerox had done in the late '70's, known as the 'mouse'.
I was working at Apple Computer in those days, so I was privy to details about this computer.
The first time I saw a Lisa, I knew it was time for NetTrek. I had seen a
similar game on the Xerox Alto II computers several years earlier known as Trek.
Of course, I wasn't thinking of calling it NetTrek, rather something like of a MacTrek or MTrek.
Oh how those names were SO geeky!
The name NetTrek came later...
I tried to get the first version of NetTrek done for the Lisa computer, but there was this even
newer computer in the 'pipe' that was much more affordable and even faster. This was the
Macintosh. It didn't really start out as affordable, but it was cool. The major problem
was that you still needed a Lisa to program anything for the Mac. So, after putting off
a major roof replacement on my house and I got my own Lisa for doing that NetTrek thing
for the Mac. In those days, a Lisa could cost as much as $10,000 and that was in 1984 dollars.
The first version of NetTrek for the Macintosh was written about 95% in assembly language as
I was originally an assembly programmer for the Apple II, so assembly language was fine with me.
Bit by bit more of the programming was added in Pascal (there wasn't any C compilers
until later; besides the ROM routines in the Mac were written with the Pascal compiler in mind).
Since the first versions of NetTrek ran only as a multi-player game, I needed other people
to test it with me. As it's really hard to handle 3 or 4 computer mice at the same time.
Some late night I panicked a bit about the game getting released without my knowledge, so
I inserted a shareware message into one of the 'Info Screens', just in case one of my
trusty testers thought that it was OK to send it to their friends. Of course, this is exactly what
happened and NetTrek became a shareware game.
Really, I never intended on selling NetTrek, or even doing shareware. I just wanted people to
play the game...
By about 1985 or early 1986, there was another Macintosh (aka Milwaukee) in the works at Apple
that had a color display rather than just a black & white display.
Wow, color, on a Mac? Cool. Oh, but that meant that I needed to program new code to draw to the color
bitmapped display. OK, start over. After many hours of
trying to write quick code that would draw to the display, I determined that the routines in
the Macintosh ROM were actually faster than anything I came up with (I got 'smart' later).
In 1987, the Macintosh II was released and the same time version 2.5 of NetTrek was finished.
I don't think anyone has a copy (other
than myself) of that crummy version as it was the direct grand-daddy of the last formal existing version
known as NetTrek- the Real Version (version 3.0).
For some unknown reason, I decided to obey the advice with my
friends and 'ship' NetTrek as a commercial (purchasable) version
with a [now] defunct company, Premier Technology. Did I make
lots of money? Nope. I never really received any of the
money they collected by selling this version. But now, so many
years later, maybe it's time to resurrect and revive
NetTrek for those players who want it again.
Uploaded by Vintage Apple Mac on